The Deadline Has Died. The Deadline Is Risen.

Every day for 17 years, I pursued my deadline as a news producer with the fervor of a religious zealot. My rundown—a prophecy of stories. My scripts—mini manifests of my vision. I conjured images and sound to help spread my gospel. Through the day I crafted a sermon of wildfires, peeping toms, home runs, and seals hitting kayakers in the face with octopi. My flock always gathered at the same time of the day, forcing me to work in a trance-like state to testify the exact moment they needed fulfillment. After, I would becalm my soul with a glass of The Blood of Christ…or two…or three. It was a hard grind.

Last year a plague befell our world. My television ministry, the 6:00 pm news, forewent the offerings of murder and flying octopi. Instead, it provided critical, lifesaving sermons featuring scientific apostles, spreading the word of Fauci and top epidemiologists. But opposing factions who worship falsely bronzed idols took to the streets. An already simmering fervor boiled over across the country. Journalists were caught in the middle of this holy (crap is this our new reality?) war. It was too much.

This summer I excommunicated myself from the newsroom. My flock became just two. My stories—more focused on the sounds and shapes of farm animals. My deadline—no longer at 6:00 pm. Instead, I joyfully fulfilled constant needs of sustenance, affection, diaper cleansing, or kisses on booboos.

This new role comes with a new challenge: Finding time to grow my flock when my two main followers are laid to rest (for naps or for the night). The grind remains, but it’s much more fulfilling. And if I blow my deadline, my flock won’t pursue a new preacher. Instead, they’ll stomp around, throwing blocks at me until my focus is directed on their immediate needs. And let me tell you, the power of Fisher-Price compels me.

In the last several weeks, I have made headway finding my new flock. I don’t sermonize to them from the QLED pulpit. Instead, I’ve begun to write scripture that includes a children’s book, a television news writing text, copy for a data engineering bootcamp website, and articles about video games.

The stress has ascended from my shoulders. I feel the warm embrace of pressure still, but it’s not fueled by the fiery fervor of heated politics. I evangelize at my pace. I sermonize the topics I choose. My daily collection plates are starting to fill again. I am reborn. I have entered the kingdom of freelancing and I am fulfilled—which, I assure you, requires a lot less Blood of Christ at the end of the day.

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